Director of Athletic Bands
A native of Newnan, GA, Chester B. Phillips is in his sixth year as associate director of bands and director of athletic bands at Georgia State University. His primary responsibilities include conducting the Wind Orchestra, establishing and directing the University Marching Band, teaching conducting and overseeing all facets of the Athletic Bands. In 2013, Dr. Phillips was presented the Dean’s Early Career Award by the College of Arts and Sciences for his outstanding work in teaching, service and professional development.
Since his arrival at Georgia State University, the band area has added a third concert band, seen growth in the basketball pep band to over 200% its original size and established a nationally recognized and respected marching band with nearly two hundred members. Under Dr. Phillips leadership the five-year old GSU Marching Band has received several honors and accolades including an invitation to march in the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, participation in the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade, a national top-ten honor by the 2013 College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), a top-five honor by the 2012 Southern Division of CBDNA. The band has also made several appearances on film and television including a spot in the motion picture The Watch starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill and showcased on HNL Morning Express with Robin Meade.
Prior to his appointment, Dr. Phillips was active in all aspects of the band department at the University of Georgia (Athens, GA) as a graduate assistant with duties including drill design and instruction for the University of Georgia Redcoat Band, conducting the university’s concert bands and teaching conducting.
Before his time UGA, Dr. Phillips taught for seven years as the associate director of bands at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Georgia and for two years in the Gwinnett County public schools at the middle and high school level. As a recipient of the Sousa Foundation’s “Sudler Flag of Honor” in 2007, the Harrison Band (GA) program, under his instruction, was distinguished as one of the strongest, respected, and well-rounded band programs in the United States. Throughout his tenure in public schools, Dr. Phillips led highly acclaimed concerts before the Music for All National Concert Band Festival (twice) and the Georgia Music Educators Association Conference. Performances under his direction have won the praise of such notable composers/conductors as Frederick Fennell, John Mackey, Richard Clary, Ray Cramer, Gray Green, Col. Arnold Gabriel and James Copenhaver.
Dr. Phillips received the Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the University of Georgia, the Master of Music degree in music education from the University of Illinois and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in wind conducting at the University of Georgia. His principal conducting teachers have been John P. Lynch and James Keene. He has conducted university, community and honor bands throughout the United States and in Europe.
With over 20 years of marching band experience, Dr. Phillips is well versed in all aspects of the activity. He is a guest clinician for concert bands throughout the Southeast and a visual designer and consultant for marching bands around the country. He serves as an adjudicator for Music for All, Band of America, Drum Corps International, and Festivals of Music. In 2013, Dr. Phillips traveled to Yokohama, Japan to judge for Drum Corp Japan. He was a member and soloist with the Cadets of Bergen County Drum and Bugle Corps and remains an active private trumpet instructor and freelance performer in the Atlanta area.
He is affiliated with professional organizations that include the National Band Association, College Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education, and Georgia Music Educators Association. Dr. Phillips currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife, Megan, their two daughters, and their dog, Bella.